I’m reading through a book called “The Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. This book was written over 25 years ago, and has recently been updated. It’s a leadership manual for anyone that finds themselves in a position of leadership or authority, and it addresses many difference aspects of leadership that we’ll explore from time to time on these pages.
In one of the early chapters, the authors share about The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. They identified these behaviors in leaders after analyzing many different leadership experiences from many different walks of life.
The 5 Practices are:
1) Model the Way (Be sure of your values and be willing to show people what you stand for)
2) Inspire a Shared Vision (As a leader, you must imagine “what could be”, then be able to share that with others)
3) Challenge the Process (This is where risk comes in, asking good questions and evaluating before moving forward)
4) Enable Others to Act (Helping others reach their full potential and leading them to experience that)
5) Encourage the Heart (Using affirmation with your team members, acknowledging them for their success and achievements.)
I find it interesting that they identify these as “behaviors”. These are things that leaders should do naturally, or they should make them a part of everything they do.
How do you do with these? Are these things that you spend time doing?
When I started out in leadership, I had to learn how to do these things. I had seen other leaders model these, and I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I remember the opportunities I’ve had over the years to practice these things, and over time, they do become somewhat natural. This is just a part of practical leadership.
Look at the role you’re filling today:
Think of an illustration of each of these, think through or write down how you did each of these with your team or with people on your team.
Think of ways you can intentionally grow in these areas. What can you do today to make these a part of your “behavior” and not just “action” when you’re thinking about it.
As leaders, we need to grow.
If you’re bogged down today, take some time to reflect and plan.
Make these a part of your leadership today.